Today, AT&T acquired Wayport giving millions of AT&T customers access to get free WiFi access at 20,000 US hotspots. Why is this important? Simply because AT&T’s 3G network is having trouble keeping up with all the traffic the iPhone and other devices are generating. Wireless data is very lucrative and at the same time it gets very expensive to keep up with growing wireless broadband demand.
For AT&T, purchasing WiFi network is very smart as WiFi is generally cheaper than building 3G and/4G network capacity and more importantly, Wayport already has hotspots in prime areas throughout the country.
In all, this is a good move for AT&T and shows how important WiFi is as a competitive differentiator. For example, in the last few months I have noticed Optimum WiFi has hotspots all over Connecticut. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find it active in Manhattan but in CT, throughout Fairfield County you can find pretty strong Optimum WiFi signals in areas such as shopping centers and main roads.
It seems bundled WiFi is becoming a must-have addition and as such this AT&T acquisition makes more sense than ever.